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Douzaines join forces to oppose bigger Beaucamps

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DOUZAINES from five of the feeder parishes want the expansion of Les Beaucamps High School stopped before a ‘spade goes in the ground’.

Parish protest. Left to right, Jeff Wilkes-Green and Dave Beausire, St Martin’s constables; Chris Elliott, douzenier in St Andrew’s; and constables Sue Aldwell (Torteval), Peter Ward (St Andrew’s) and Clive Le Tissier, Forest. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 26713483)

Plans to increase capacity from 660 pupils to 1,400 were published last week.

When the constables of St Andrew’s highlighted concerns with fellow parishes, they found support from St Martin’s, Forest, St Saviour’s and Torteval.

St Andrew’s constable Peter Ward said they felt that the time had come to go public as they thought people did not understand the full extent of what was being proposed.

‘As we’d not had any feedback to the proposal from the other douzaines, we went to them, and none of the replies were positive,’ he said.

‘We don’t see how they can increase the pupil numbers from 500 [currently] to 1,400 without expecting it to have an environmental impact on the immediate area.’

The douzaines want people to be aware of exactly what is being proposed before it is too late.

Mr Ward said feedback they had got from education professionals was that the committee was not listening to what they said.

‘Education seems to be resolute that its plans are correct and the right thing for Guernsey, but we think they’re out of touch with professional and public sentiment, not to mention the importance of education on our economy,’ he said.

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He compared the position to ‘another incinerator decision’ and said they wanted to stop a spade from going in the ground.

St Martin’s constable Dave Beausire said he had concerns over the proposals generally, but the main one was the use of Les Beaucamps.

‘It’s not suitable for extending and Education is gambling with our children’s futures and a lot of taxpayers’ money on something that will not be suitable,’ he said.

Forest constable Clive Le Tissier said: ‘If it all turns bad, which I believe the majority of people think it will do, it will be very difficult and costly to go back.’

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Former Education minister Robert Sillars who represents St Martin’s on the Les Beaucamps High School Management Committee said: ‘When we [his Education committee] was looking at two, three or four school models, we were told by our officers that Les Beaucamps could not be extended beyond the 660 pupil maximum.’

St Peter’s constable Mike de Laune said the letter from St Andrew’s had arrived after their last parish meeting. It had been circulated to douzaine members and it would be discussed at the next meeting at the end of January unless the need was felt to do so before.

A spokesman for the Castel said the plans were available for public viewing at the constables’ office. The douzaine would discuss them on or before the next meeting on 27 January before a formal response was made to the planners.

In September the States voted through £78m. to develop Les Beaucamps and St Sampson’s High.

Early site analysis which showed that La Mare de Carteret outranked Les Beaucamps in terms of suitability was not released until after the debate.

. The planning application is currently available to view in person at Sir Charles Frossard House. Some of the plans plans are available at www.gov.gg/lisiaschoolplans

Representations must be submitted by 23 January.

Nigel Baudains

By Nigel Baudains
News reporter

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